Music from 1987 and nearby years

This is a list of links to YouTube for music that I happen to like; centered on the year 1987. If there’s anything you happen to like from about that same time, feel free to post a youtube link to it in a comment. I’m sure my list is nowhere near exhaustive…

First up, The Bangles. Walk Like An Egyptian. The “official” Sony version (stage performance) is:

But I have a fondness for the semi-cheesy dancing in this one with Michael Jackson:

For a while you saw folks walking “like Egyptians” in cartoons, commercials, and all sorts of places.

The Bangles also did a cover of Hazy Shade Of Winter in 1987 that outscored the original Simon & Garfunkel:

Lyrics curiously appropriate now…

This is another of their songs “Going Down To Liverpool” that has Leonard Nimoy playing the part of driver…

Guess pickings were slim for a while after Star Trek The Original and before the movies…

The Bangles also had “Manic Monday” and every parents nightmare about what happens “In Your Room”

Then there was U2. So many to choose from. How about this live version of “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”? (Yes, some are links like this, a few are embeds… don’t want the page weight to kill folks on slower links on first page load…)

Though personally, I liked “With Or Without You” more:

The spooky moody quality always called to me…

Though released a couple of years earlier (1985 or so I think for the USA), this song by A-Ha “Take On Me” was high on charts due to an MTV video in 1986 and still hot in 1987:

A-Ha also did “The Sun Always Shines On TV”: that’s more moody. Though an interesting blend of guitar, drums, and a string section.

Madonna had “La Isla Bonita”:

Though I rather like this one by the French singer Alizee a tiny bit more..

between the dancing, the guitar, and the mild accent… it gives Madonna a run… Though it is the “official video” it seems to repeat the song a second time, but as video only and with no sound… so once you get to the 3 1/2 minute point or there abouts, don’t worry if the sound cuts out.

Via Con Dios had “Puerto Rico”. (They are a Brussels band formed in 1986, but seem to have a Latin fixation…) This is the ’87 video via a VHS copy:
but if you want a higher quality and newer version try: It also has some really nice guitar in it.

The same band did “Hey Na Ne Na” that we saw some years ago in an earlier music posting:

Then there was the Jacksons… Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson. There was so much they were doing then, and I can at best put a bunch of links and only one or two embeds or this becomes a Jackson’s Posting…


“Let’s Wait For A While”
“When I Think Of You”


“Bad” the iconic one: and the Weird Al parody:

“The Way You Make Me Feel”
“Man In The Mirror”
“Leave Me Alone” ( I think the visual designer had too much drugs in this one…)

“Another Part Of Me”
“I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” (With Siedah Garret):

And just as strong a presence was Whitney Houston:

“I Want To Dance With Somebody”

“Greatest Love Of All”
“Didn’t We almost Have It All?”
“So Emotional”

There are folks with one name (“Prince”, “Madonna”) and then some folks have two first names. What to do with them? Well, some made a lot of entries on the charts, so we list them.

George Michael: ( I find his stuff a bit slow, but a lot of folks like it)

“Father Figure”
“One More Try”
“I Want Your Sex” (well, this one isn’t too slow ;-)

Then some folks had the same first name twice…
Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam doing:

“Lost In Emotion: and
“Head To Toe:

But there were also more quirky songs…. (No, you are not having hearing problems… this is the German version):

There is also this one called English version with German in it (with photos of racy models…):

and the one from the movie (interesting visuals):

Falco also did “Der Kommissar” in 1981, that per the wiki:

“Der Kommissar” is a song first recorded by Falco in Austria in 1981, covered a year later by After the Fire, reworked in 1983 and retitled “Deep in the Dark” by Laura Branigan, then, reworked again in 1996 and retitled “Don’t Turn Around” by The Squids.

So clearly been around a while by various folks before and after ’87…
English (cover by “After The Fire”):

There was another German / English pair making the rounds about then. “99 Red Balloons”. It was a big hit in German. Deep, meaningful, and clearly complex… about war and stuff… at least to an English ear. Then the English came out and folks discovered (spoiler after you hear it in German ;-)

Well… English: oh…

So it’s a bit of snark at cold war being a bit daft with a sort of pop silly theme… In fairness though, the English lyrics are just a bit off from the German…

Several times a German song hit the top of the charts based on mystery and that impression of deep import. Then the inevitable English translation comes out and it goes flat. Just loses something… Then some guy goes and makes a ‘cover’ of it using, well, only Red Balloons to play the music. Honest!: now if that doesn’t make you laugh after the first two, you need help ;-)

OK, getting back from German Crossover… here’s some more, um, regular cuts:

The Eurythmics doing “Thorn In My Side” (more famous for the earlier “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)” that I just love:

Similarly I really like B-52 and “Love Shack” that’s from ’89:

and “Simply Irresistible” from ’88 by Robert Palmer: who also did “Addicted To Love” in ’86:

both with the same zoned out looking slicked back ladies ‘dancing’ in the background.

OK, back at Madonna… She did a lot then, too.

“Who’s That Girl?” leads to:
“Open Your Heart” (more than a bit suggestive…)and the result is?… “Papa Don’t Preach”

Of course, there was lighter fluff:

Bananarama doing “Venus”:

New Order with “Bizarre Love Triangle”:

Some a bit odd… what do you do with a white girl doing slow semi-rap with a southern accent to a quasi orchestral sound with… well, you figure it out. T’Pau “Heart And Soul”: (and is she named for a Vulcan?…)

Some more traditional. Rock or slower styles.

You almost couldn’t get away from this for a while. Light and fun:
Tiffany “I Think We’re Alone Now”:

Heart “Alone”:

The Cure “Just Like Heaven”:

With a hint of the islands sounds, but English. Sting:

“Englishman In New York”: (musically interesting…)
“Fragile”: (moody and slow yet with interesting guitar)

Billy Idol “Sweet Sixteen”: and the slightly more creepy
DePecheMode “Little 15”:

Europe “Carrie”: (a bit slow for my tastes, but made it on the charts then…)

Samantha Fox “Touch Me”:

Chris Burgh seems to have struck a chord in Latin America. There are several video versions with Spanish or Portuguese subtitles. This one is low res, but with “interesting” dancing: while this one has they lyrics so you can actually find out what was sung: There’s a live concert version: but in a few minutes looking I didn’t find a regular “Official Video”… though it may be a few pages down.

I’m a bit more fond of the “Euro Pop” or “Disco Pop” type sounds. Don’t know why. But this is a familiar one:

Rick Astley “Never Gonna Give You Up”:

And this one has a similar appeal to me:

Fleetwood Mac “Little Lies”:

They also have an extended “Little Lies” (medium lies? ;-)

Then there are those iconic songs that are still around today. Things played at sports events, or just always being rediscovered by a new generation.

Guns N’ Roses “Welcome To The Jungle”:

Belinda Carlisle “Heaven Is A Place On Earth”:

Peter Cetera “Glory Of Love”: (I think I’ve heard this at a few weddings…)

(Jefferson) Starship “Nothings Gonna Stop Us Now”:

George Mederios “Nothings Gonna Change My Love For You”:

Some are a bit misunderstood. Dark as light, even. Take R.E.M. “The One I Love”. Often dedicated to “The One I Love” by someone who listens to the refrain but not all the lyrics. Per the wiki

The record has ironically become a popular radio dedication to loved ones, relying on a misinterpretation of its refrain, “This one goes out to the one I love.” However, subsequent lyrics in the same verse contradict the love song interpretation and suggests a darker, more manipulative theme: “A simple prop to occupy my time.”

Stipe related in 1987 to Rolling Stone, “I’ve always left myself pretty open to interpretation. It’s probably better that they just think it’s a love song at this point.”[3] However, in an interview in the January 1988 issue of Musician magazine, he said that the song was “incredibly violent” and added, “It’s very clear that it’s about using people over and over again”.[4]

The song contains only three verses, the first two of which are identical; the third verse changes “a simple prop to occupy my time” to “another prop has occupied my time.” The chorus consists of just the word “fire”, repeated over the backing vocal of “She’s coming down on her own now/Coming down on her own” (sung by Mike Mills).

Still, it’s catchy… and maybe folks really do mean that kind of ‘dedication’…

Others just won’t die, always being rerecorded by someone or showing up on a new program / top songs show. Take Bon Jovi “Living On A Prayer”: or Steve Winwood “The Finer Things”: where I think it is the keyboard that’s catchy.

Cutting Crew “I Just Died In Your Arms Tonight”:

Billy Idol “Mony Mony”:

Others get remakes. Pet Shop Boys did a remake in 2001 of “It’s A Sin” here: yet somehow this older campier version speaks to me more:

Kim Wilde “You Just Keep Me Hanging On”:

Some make it into movies and keep living on. In this case, it’s
Bob Seger “Shakedown” used in Beverly Hills Cop:

Some into many TV shows and movies like Whitesnake “Hear I Go Again”:

Similarly, the song from the movie “Dirty Dancing” persists.
Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes “I’ve Had The Time Of My Life”:

Some get used in movies and TV and even presidential campaigns (also Muppets ;-):
Club Nouveau “Lean On Me”:

And used in many TV shows. Crowded House “Don’t Dream It’s Over”:

To live forever thanks to Top Gun; Berlin and “Take My Breath Away”:

Well, I think that’s about all that I’m likely to get done. I know there’s more, but those will have to be ‘caught up’ in comments. Hope you enjoy this wander down memory lane.

How better to end than R.E.M. “It’s The End Of The World (as we know it)” and I feel fine. A newer longer version in concert here: but a more period version:

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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15 Responses to Music from 1987 and nearby years

  1. KevinM says:

    Cheesy dancing, Michael Jackson reference.

    On of the few rides I never made as a kid at Disney in the 1980s was Captain Eo. So I get back to the park a few years ago with my own kids, and the ride was opened but abandoned (“Futureworld” and Figment have slipped into the bowl, yet not been flushed). Well lets go have a look! And I was totally blown away.

    How could such great minds given so much talent spend so much money making something so ugly.

    Just sharing a memory triggered by the Egyptians.

  2. Ben Vorlich says:

    An interesting mix, personally as an exile who at that time was returning to Scotland every summer this still plucks at the heart strings

    Talking Heads Road to Nowhere

  3. tom0mason says:

    Sorry my era was a decade and more before most of this music.
    Not that I don’t like some of your tracks.
    I do have one from that era though, it reflects how I feel these days, in this weather –

    Here’s one from more than a decade earlier –

  4. Ralph B says:

    Surprised no Twisted Sister “we’re not gonna take it” awesome. I guess the Scorpions are a little early since it is 1987 time frame you are looking at. Rat “Round and Round”. Yeah I more into metal. Loved Weird Al.

    Spent a significant time on a submarine though, sometimes a hit would be starting just as we left and all played out when returned. Before going out to sea we used to load up on Madonna videos (Beta Max at first) not so much for the music though.

    It’s funny, my kids think I am Mr Neat and Clean never picture me as a metalhead.

  5. Brent Buckner says:

    You wrote: “This is another of their songs “Going Down To Liverpool” that has Leonard Nimoy playing the part of driver…Guess pickings were slim for a while after Star Trek The Original and before the movies…”

    No, that wasn’t it. The video was filmed well after the movies paydays had begun. Wikipedia claims: “Leonard Nimoy played the part of the chauffeur; this came about due to a college friendship between Susanna Hoffs and Nimoy’s son Adam.” (from )

  6. Verity Jones says:

    Oh fantastic! Where do I start? So many memories… but then I have pretty catholic tastes.

    Love “Manic Monday” and the Bangles version of “Hazy Shade of Winter”. U2 was part of the soundtrack of my life back then – “Where the streets have no name” If you like spooky moody try Bono with Clannad: “In a lifetime” – oooh chills. Maybe you’d like Ultravox – Vienna Hmm – very ’80s!

    A-Ha – Take on me – haven’t heard that for years. Madonna, very prolific, however only a few such as “Papa don’t preach” really appealed. Never really liked Michael Jackson, but I have to admit he did some great songs, and Whitney sure new how to sing. George Michael – Yuk.

    Ah yes Falco – and Nena – and reminds me of Peter Gabriel’s “Games without Frontiers”, but then, speaking of him, I prefer “Solsbury Hill” and of course “Sledgehammer”. Always had a soft spot for him since my into to Prog Rock via Genesis “Selling England by the Pound” album – worth a try if you like musicality and lyrical weirdness, I still marvel at the piano into to Firth of Fifth, although this is ’70s not ’80s.

    You mention Chris de Burgh – I can’t stand “Lady in Red”, but had previously been introduced to him by friends at university, He’s a brilliant writer of ballads. My intro in the ’80s was his 1975 album “Spanish Train and Other Stories”. The title song is worth a listen – poker for souls(!), but for a smile, try “Patricia the stripper” The 1982 album “The Getaway” is also worth a listen (some Europop; a few beautiful love songs).

    More later doubtless as one song reminds me of another.

  7. Sera says:

    Liz Frazier was one of my favorites back in the late 80’s. She sings in English, but only God knows what the words are (I think that she makes some of them up just to rhyme). In 1988 the song ‘Blue Bell Knoll’ was used in a ‘Miami Vice’ episode, but my favorite has always been ‘Heaven or Las Vegas’.


  8. E.M.Smith says:


    Yes, Disney has a way of “creative destruction” that wipes out things that are iconic in people’s minds. The spaceship ride at Tomorrowland was something I rode for a dozen times with my Dad watching… then it was moved in the ‘remake’ and my son got to ride a slightly different ground level gilt painted one… now it’s gone entirely. Now they are about to destroy the giant iconic Sorcerer’s Apprentice Hat in Hollywood Studios. So it goes.

    If you are wandering down nostalgia lane per Disney, check out Yesterland:




    It’s a bit before my era as well. I’m more ’70s and early ’80s. (Well… I started paying attention in the early to mid ’50s but in a town where we were a decade behind the trend… so I actually have a fondness for stuff that starts in the ’40s … and have kept adding to me like list even to today. Or maybe even wider than that since Beethoven and Bach and Mozart and… well, music persists…)

    This posting was prompted by the desire to mark what music was around when another person entered my life, not so much by my favorites. I mostly looked at the “Top Of The Charts” lists and wandered down a couple of ‘connection chains’, along with a few personal favorites. Since you don’t know what style from an era were the favorites of others, too much filtering on personal choice makes a posting limiting. (Though I did leave out “country top 10 of ’87 ;-)

    @Ralph B:

    Love the song, but it’s from 1984, so a bit outside my ‘window’ for this posting… but it illustrates a problem: Is a song written in ’87 that’s a ‘top 10′ in 2003 an ’87 song’? What about one written in ’70 that’s still strong in 2009? It was around in ’87 and sometimes even on the charts…. So a lot of “prosecutorial discretion” went into choosing. That’s why I included some from ’86 or that topped charts in ’89.

    By why “no linkey”? YOU are not bound by my filter for the posting.

    I suspect my kids have trouble thinking of me in plaid bell bottoms and listening to Grateful Dead too ;-)

    @Brent Buckner:

    Well I said “I Guess” ;-) It really was just a WAG. (Wild Ass Guess).


    Exactly why I like to do this kind of posting from time to time. It also reminds me of “other times”. (autre fois in French… used for all sorts of things from antiques to nostalgia…)

    I also like to see other folks perspective on that same time-experience. Lets me see the world from other angles and pick up more… So thanks for those links! Some have reminded me of bits that were a bit faded in my memory, others are ‘new to me’; and that’s a good thing ;-)


    Yes, I like it… as you say, hard to pick out the words. (I’d guess a web search would surface them… but only after soaking up the experience of the presentation ‘as is’…)

    One of the issues with music is ‘what words?’ that has many colors. First up, what language? Especially in mixed language songs it can be hard to swap languages as fast as the singer on the first pass. Then there are the “musical lentitions” and “musical affection that take their toll in whatever language is being used. Then there’s that “wa wa do wop diddy” made up sounds for effect mixed with various musical alliteration. Toss in some momentary drop outs and overrides from instruments… Thus so many lyrics listings postings ;-)

    So folks: Just keep on putting up your favorites! We all get to enjoy some more that way. It not a “sum” game, it’s a multiplication …

  9. punmaster52 says:

    Robert Palmer. The man could just flat out sing! The videos were a bonus.
    But then for me, this is almost as good:

  10. Jon says:

    I don’t think you can talk about this era without mentioning one of the best albums (IMO) of all time, “And Justice For All”, by Metallica.

    Their best known single, One

    My personal favorite, Harvester of Sorrow

  11. Verity Jones says:

    Thanks to this I’ve been remembering stuff all day. First a few bands referenced above – T’Pau – it has to be “China in my Hand” and if you’re going to mention Crowded House then “Weather with you” (1992) gets my vote, even tho’ its a bit later.

    For something different – Yello – The Race (1988): – still pops up in films too.

    Lots of bands that never did much stateside are my soundtrack from back then – especially Scottish bands – e.g. Fairground Attraction – “Find my Love” which is very infectious, and the more famous “Perfect” Two Irish bands stand out from then – The Waterboys “Whole of the Moon” (ah the memories!), and Hothouse Flowers “Don’t Go”
    And I’ve just found one almost forgotten – Tanita Tikaram – Good Tradition (1988) and the moodily hypnotic “Twist in my Sobriety”

    Then there’s Steve Earle’s Copperhead Road which takes me off into another genre. Enough! Thanks for a fun evening browsing youtube for memories. I just hope I’ve remembered how to embed videos – it’s been a while.

  12. E.M.Smith says:


    That Yello The Race reminds me of one summer with nothing to do and Mexican Mike in town ;-0

    You might like this from a decade or 2 earlier. Birth Of The Beat by Sandy Nelson:

    Enjoying “Perfect” at the moment… moody kind of retro / crossover. Yummy! Love that “singing in the rain – Hey, it’s England of course we shoot even in the rain” video ;-)

    The “Find My Love” link doesn’t work in the USA, but I found this one that does:

    Same thing for Crowded House “Weather”

    If I run into any others as I work through them I’ll post alternate links.

    You have an interesting taste in music ;-) Stuff I like, from my era, that I’ve often never heard. A rare treat… Like discovering malt added to chocolate after having had a lot fo chocolate…


    Ah, yes, Metalica… Unfortunately my ‘method’ of looking at ‘best of’ and ‘top of the charts’ lists tends not to ‘find’ specific sector hits. But that’s why I’m soliciting individual favorites too ;-)


    Yes! More Weird Al (and Spuds are always good ;-)

  13. punmaster52 says:

    @Verity Jones:
    Country music didn’t cross my mind. I love Steve Earle. This is my favorite, from 1986.

    Weird Al gets too weird for my taste every now and then, but most of the time I like his work.
    From 1993:

    Speaking of country, I like the sense, the story?, of this one by George Strait, 1987.

  14. Ralph B says:

    Sorry no linky before, I am on a very slow connection but here is one closer to 1987:

    saw these guys in concert when they opened for Bob Segar:

    And you can’t leave out:

    I am a big Sammy Hagar fan…I can’t drive 55 is too early for this subject so this will have to do:

  15. Verity Jones says:


    You have an interesting taste in music ;-) Stuff I like, from my era, that I’ve often never heard. A rare treat… Like discovering malt added to chocolate after having had a lot fo chocolate…

    Thank you! I still have you to thank for a few discoveries way back. And it’s as much a pleasure to revisit and share mine as to discover yours and those of others. More… lots more, Deacon Blue – Real Gone Kid Aztec Camera – Somewhere In My Heart (quite ‘poppy’, but I’m a sucker for a good melody)
    Birth Of The Beat reminds me of a drumming group that used to busk in the city centre on Saturdays.
    @punmaster52 good ol’ Steve – that’s a good one too. Heard a great version of Copperhead Road at a Bluegrass festival recently. George Strait – Ooh ooh forgot Dire Straits! Got to have Money for Nothing and Walk of Life (from ’87)
    @RalphB Traveling Wilbury’s – Yes! I was also thinking of George Harrison Got My Mind Set On You and then there’s the irresistibly catchy Paul Simon – You Can Call Me Al

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